Saturday, November 17, 2001

Protesters demand release of militant

JERUSALEM About 2,000 Palestinians protested outside a West Bank police station for the third day yesterday, demanding the release of a leading Islamic militant held by Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat’s security forces.Mahmoud Tawalbi, a leading member of the militant Islamic Jihad group, was arrested Wednesday by Jibril Rajoub, West Bank’s security chief. Mr. Tawalbi is suspected of having masterminded suicide bombings in Israel.

Also yesterday, Israeli troops briefly entered two Palestinian areas in the Gaza Strip, leveling farmland and destroying a Palestinian police post. Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer reiterated that he has no plans to recapture Palestinian territory or to topple Mr. Arafat’s government.

Russia sends Iran nuclear reactor body

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia The only Russian factory capable of making a complete nuclear reactor yesterday shipped its first reactor body to Iran despite strong U.S. protests.

Officials presided over a ceremony at the Izhora factory in St. Petersburg dedicated to the completion of the 317-ton, cylindrical reactor body for Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power plant, expected to finish by 2003. The contract, signed in 1995, calls for Russia to be paid an estimated $800 million.

Washington, which accuses Iran of sponsoring terrorism, has urged Russia to abandon construction of the reactor, apprehensive that Iran could use the nuclear technology to develop nuclear weapons.

U.S., Canada pledge better border security

OTTAWA Canada and the United States agreed yesterday on Cabinet-level cooperation to improve border security and speed the flow of trade despite heightened security concerns after the September 11 terrorist attacks.

Treasury Secretary Paul H. O’Neill and Canadian Finance Minister Paul Martin met prior to a weekend gathering of world finance ministers, called to discuss choking off the assets of terrorists and jump-starting the lagging global economy.

Security was stepped up yesterday after anti-capitalism demonstrators taunted police and attacked a McDonald’s restaurant yesterday.

Mr. O’Neill said his “excellent” talks with Mr. Martin focused on using technology and other resources to change the way traffic moves across borders. Tighter security since September 11 has caused long delays for truck transportation at some border crossings.

Belgium accepts blame in Lumumba’s death

BRUSSELS Belgium bears a “moral responsibility” for the 1961 death of then Congolese Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba, a parliamentary commission of inquiry concluded in a report published yesterday.

Members of the commission, who examined archives and heard testimony from key surviving players of the era, highlighted the involvement of Belgian politicians in the transfer of Mr. Lumumba to Katanga Province, the secessionist province controlled by his enemies.

The commission members made clear in their report that there was no evidence that any Belgian official had ordered Mr. Lumumba’s murder.

Miss World winner makes pageant history

SUN CITY, South Africa Nigerian Agbani Darego was crowned Miss World yesterday, the first black African to win the title in the pageant’s 51-year history.

The event, hosted by U.S. talk-show presenter Jerry Springer, was beamed to a projected global television audience of 1.2 billion.

“I am so, so happy. It’s a wonderful feeling and it’s indescribable. I’ve made history,” said Miss Darego, 18.

There have been only three winners from Africa in more than half a century two white South Africans and an Egyptian. Most winners have been from Europe, the Americas or India.

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